Discussion: Including DNFs


Before this year, it was very rare that I set a book aside without finishing it. As I write this post, I currently have 28 DNFs, or “did-not-finish.” That’s probably about 28 times as many DNFs as I had in 2012. And the majority of these books are from the second half of 2013 – during the first half, I first started realizing that I could set aside books without finishing them and the world wouldn’t end, but it was still pretty rare for me.

I think there are multiple reasons I started DNFing so much. For one thing, I’m starting to feel slightly overwhelmed with all the books, which includes the fact that I want to read as many books as possible. If I’m stuck slogging through the same book for a couple of weeks, that’s a lot of time wasted where I could have been reading other books. I’m also more critical than I used to be, so things that might not have bothered me before now make me kind of want to throw a book across the room. In that same vein, I’m starting to realize what I like more, and if I don’t like a book, then there’s absolutely no reason to keep reading it. Better to cut it loose and move on to something I’d like more.

When I began setting so many books aside as DNFs, I had a decision to make: should I count them as books I read this year or not? Some of these books lasted only a chapter or two, but others lasted about halfway through the book, which could be the same length as a shorter book, and I ended up skimming others. If I spent a few days on a book, I wanted it to count, but only read 10-20 pages made me feel a bit uneasy, but I finally decided to count them.

Ultimately, it’s what worked for me. I read so many books, quite a few of which are 400+ pages. Even if I only read about 50 pages in one book, by reading another 400 page word, it’s like reading two fairly short books. I also prefer reviewing the books, even if they’re short mini-reviews, because I think it’s helpful to let people know why I didn’t like a book.

I really hope that next year there are less DNFs, but I think I’ll still keep counting them because if I put in the time, even a little, then I want it to count.

What do you think about DNFs? Do you count them, or do you force yourself to finish all your books no matter what?


7 thoughts on “Discussion: Including DNFs

  1. As of now I’ve not included any DNF books in the reviews on my blog mostly because I’m afraid that I’ve not a lot to say beyond the narrative bored me, the characters were one-dimensional, the voice was annoying, etc. But I do agree with you that DNF reviews can be very useful too because they still refer to the reading experiences of particular books. Although, on GR I shelve those separately into an exclusive shelf of did not finish to differentiate them from the books I actually did complete.

    1. Yeah, I’ve started doing that as well, and I no longer rate them at all since it doesn’t seem fair, but I think it’s a bit helpful to at least have a paragraph or two explaining why I didn’t finish a book. It’s all down to personal preference, and right now, that’s just what I’d rather do.

  2. I am totally in support of DNFing! There are too many books out there to read things you aren’t enjoying. However, I don’t review them or count them toward the number of books I have read because I generally don’t get past the first 50 pages if I decide to DNF. Either way works, though, as long as you make it clear that you did not read the book in its entirety.

    1. Yeah, I can understand why some people don’t like DNF reviews, but I always make sure to clearly mark those reviews. I personally find DNF reviews helpful because I can see if the reviewer’s reasons are things that would be a problem for me as well.

      And there are definitely too many books out there that I would rather read than forcing myself to finish something I’m kind of hating!

  3. Hmm I guess I never really thought about this before. The total number of books I’ve read this year is kind of misleading, since it counts DNFs. But I feel okay about it, because I always make sure to read at least 20% of a book before DNFing. So usually that’s like ~100 pages, which is almost kind of like a whole entire book (or at least a novella, haha). So it definitely ALMOST counts 😉

    1. There are some DNFs from this year that I only read about ten pages in, but since I read some larger books, I’ve decided to count them anyway – I mean, I’m the one who did read them, no matter how much or little, so it might as well count! I should probably try to have a minimum amount, but I don’t want to force myself to keep reading a book I don’t like if I don’t have to, and that’s something I got better at this year.

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